Easy Space Experiments for Kids

Easy Fun Space Experiments for Kids

This year we are trying out the Magic School Bus curriculum. This science curriculum boasts 180 days of units on space, forces and weather, energy, animals, habitats, archaeology and more!  I want to give a shout out to Cornerstone Confessions for offering this free curriculum on their awesome website.

This curriculum is appropriate for kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd-grade students. As I’ve mentioned, it’s free, but you will need to purchase certain supplies for the experiments. You will also need access to The Magic School Bus episodes via Netflix, YouTube, or the library. While it’s too early to provide a comprehensive review, I will say that this curriculum is full of fun activities and experiments for kids. We are definitely enjoying this no-nonsense approach to science.

So, let’s get right into some of the experiments and activities we’ve been doing this month!

1. Experiment One: Name Those Planets

Objective: Identifying planets by size and distance to the sun.

Corresponding Video: The Magic School Bus Gets Lost in Space

What You’ll Need:
•    Balls of every size (1 basketball, 1 soccer ball, 2 soft balls, 2 ping pong balls, 1 jack ball, 1 marble). *Note: We didn’t have all these balls on hand, so we just used what we had!
•    Stick on labels
•    Markers
•    This worksheet

What to Do:
1.    Hide the balls around your classroom or backyard and ask students to find all 8. (I added this fun activity to the experiment to get them moving!)
2.    Ask students to label all of the planets according to size.
3.    Ask students to line the planets up according to the distance from the sun. (Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Venus, Uranus, Neptune.)

4.    Ask students to complete the follow-up worksheet activity.

Get more ideas for this experiment here!

2. Experiment Two: Stargazing

Objective: Finding out what happens to stars when the sun rises.

Corresponding Video: The Magic School Bus Sees Stars.

What You’ll Need:
•    A late curfew (for stargazing)
•    Pencil or pen

•    Scissors
•    Bright flashlight
•    This worksheet

What to Do:
1.    Go outside on a clear night and observe real stars. Have students record what they see. (If you don’t homeschool, tell your students to stargaze with their parents for homework).
2.    The next day, go outside and ask the students if they can see any stars.
3.    Ask students why they think it’s difficult to see stars during the day and record their answer. (Stars are veiled by gases, dust, and water vapor in the atmosphere.)
4.    Print out this template and punch out the Astro-Liz constellation using a pen or pencil. Make sure your students know the holes represent “stars,” and the cover flap represents the “atmosphere.”

5.    Pretend it’s nighttime and hold Astro-Liz up to a bright window with the white flap facing them. (Ask students if they see any “stars” through the “atmosphere.”)
6.    Pretend it’s daytime and hold Astro-Liz up to a bright window. This time, shine the flashlight (sun) on the cover flap.

(Ask students if they can still see the “stars” through the “atmosphere” when the “sun” is shining.)

7.    Ask students to complete the follow-up worksheet activity.

 Get more ideas for this experiment here!

3. Experiment Three: Constellation Viewers

Objective: Learning about different constellations.

Corresponding Video: The Magic School Bus Sees Stars

What You’ll Need:
•    Empty paper towel tubes
•    Dark blue construction paper
•    Scissors
•    Glue
•    Pin, pen, or pencil
•    Rubber bands
•    A coffee mug (or any round-top cup)
•    This template
•    Markers, crayons, stickers, etc. to decorate (optional)

What to Do:
1.    Decorate the tube. (We decorated color construction paper and glued it over the paper towel tube.)
2.    Choose your constellation from the template and cut it out.
3.    Place a coffee mug upside-down onto dark blue construction paper and trace around it.
4.    Cut out the circle you traced on the dark blue construction paper.
5.    Glue your constellation directly onto the center of the dark blue circle.
6.    Punch out the holes on the constellation using a pin, pen, or pencil.
7.    Fold the circle onto the end of the tube so that the constellation is centered. Fasten with a rubber band.
8.    Look through the tube to view your constellation!

 *Note: You can also place a flashlight into the tube and turn off the lights to see the constellations.

 

4. Experiment Four: Making Craters!

Objective: What happens when asteroids of different weight and sizes hit the earth?

Corresponding Video: The Magic School Bus Out of This World

What You’ll Need:
•    Cinnamon
•    Flour
•    Salt

•    Shoe boxes
•    Marbles of all sizes
•    Aluminum foil balls
•    Ping-pong balls
•    Spoon
•    This Worksheet

What to Do:
1.    Mix flour and salt together in shoe boxes and smooth over. Cover with a layer of cinnamon.
2.    Ask students to predict what might happen if they dropped each of the balls into the shoe boxes.
3.    From a crouching position, drop each of the balls into the shoe boxes and carefully remove them. Ask students what they see. (Craters should be of different sizes and depths.)
4.    Ask students to record their observations on the worksheet.
5.    From a standing position, drop each ball into the shoe boxes and carefully remove them. Ask students what they see. (Craters should be bigger and deeper.)
6.    Ask students to record their observations.
7.    Discuss why the holes were bigger and deeper when the balls were dropped from standing position. (A further distance gives the balls time to pick up speed, which results in bigger craters.)

 Get more ideas for this experiment here!

Stay tuned for more posts on easy, fun science experiments for kids! I wish I could write about them all, but I’d rather you head on over to Cornerstone Confessions and Scholastic to discover the ones we didn’t mention for yourself. A full review on this curriculum will be available at the end of the school year. Stay tuned!

Have you tried this curriculum? Let us know down below!

Frugal Resources for Homeschool

12 Frugal Supplements I Used For Preschool & Kindergarten

During my homeschool research, I came across several blog posts recommending high-priced curricula and supplement materials. But for homeschool parents on a budget, like us, you don’t have to fork over your entire homeschool savings on curricula alone. Take the frugal road and save most of that money for enriching activities and experiences outside the classroom.

Most of you know that I created my own curriculum this year. Partly because I was on a budget and partly because I didn’t want to spend top dollar on something that may not work for us. I needed to spend time with my children to assess their learning style and abilities so that I could determine which curriculum fit best for our household. I’m glad I did this. Not only did I save money, but I’m now able to help other homeschool parents who are looking to save money, too.

Most of the worksheets and activities my boys did this year were created by me. However, there were some resources that helped me fill in those gaps. Not all of these resources were free, but they fit into my budget nicely. Here they are!


12 Great Resources That Helped Me Supplement My Homeschool Curriculum for Pre-K and Kindergarten. 

1Scholastic Early Learners workbook..    Scholastic Early Learners workbook.

This workbook was used more so toward the beginning of the year, although we still like to use it for handwriting practice. Among other things, this workbook covers practice in the alphabet and phonics, counting, shapes and 3-D shapes, sequencing, telling time, and standard kindergarten vocabulary practice.

Trend Enterprises Ready to Read workbook

2.    Trend Enterprises Ready to Read workbook.

This workbook covers beginning reading skills, upper and lowercase letters, letter and word puzzles, basic reading vocabulary, and reading and following directions. This is a wipe – off book used primarily by my 3-year-old, even though it’s designed for kindergarten. However, my kindergartner has gotten some great use out of it, too.

School Zone Big Workbook3.    School Zone Big Workbook.

I purchased this workbook at the First Grade level to challenge my kindergartner. We used this book very often, as it allowed for practice in many areas. The book covers critical thinking, phonics and spelling, vocabulary, reading comprehension, basic math, and math word problems, among other things. We were able to cover a lot of ground with this workbook, so we found it super helpful.

4.    Learning Resources flashcards.

We used the United States flashcards as a part of our geography lesson. These flash cards also came with fun facts. My preschooler used the Alphabet and Numbers flash cards to practice phonics and fluency in counting up to 30. We also purchased “thumbs up” stickers from the Dollar Tree and placed a sticker on each flash card they mastered. This allowed us to practice more on the facts they hadn’t mastered yet. I know flash cards are frowned upon in the homeschool community, but my kids love flash cards!

5.    Trend Enterprises Sight Word flashcards.

Playing fun games with these flash cards really helped my kindergartner to master his sight words. These flashcards have all sorts of levels for sight word practice. Once again, we used the
sticker method to keep track of the words he needed more practice with. By the end of the year, my kindergartner’s fluency at recalling sight words greatly increased.

Teachers pay Teachers.

6.    Teachers pay Teachers.

This is where I downloaded and printed many of my worksheets. This resource carries everything from science activities to reading comprehension practice, and so much more! Some of the resources are free, others are fairly priced. The great thing about this resource was that I can print out exactly what I need, rather than flipping through a published workbook filled with fluff. I have a store listed on Teachers Pay Teachers where I offer free printables. Find it, here.

National Geographic Kids7.    National Geographic Kids.

National Geographic Kids is a fun resource for learning about plants, animals, and habitats all around the world. They also have a fun “How Things Are Made” series, where kids can learn how their favorite things are made from pizza to crayons, and even LEGOs! The National Geographic Kids website includes a wealth of resources from videos to books, and fun learning games and quizzes. Also, check out the Dollar Tree for National Geographic books to add to your science curriculum.

1464117973397-18.    YouTube.

There are so many YouTube learning channels for Kids. Videos are great for reinforcing facts, ideas, and concepts. National Geographic Kids has a great YouTube Channel. Other favorites are Animal Atlas and The Kids Picture Show, which covers advanced shapes, colors, and the solar system, among other things. I love these channels for those hectic mornings where I need my boys to stay in one place while I make breakfast or put in a load of laundry. These channels are also great compliments to curriculum lessons. My kids can learn all about the solar system and then watch a fun video about it.

61j76ft19zl-_sx258_bo1204203200_9.    The Everything Kids’ Science Experiments Book.

This book covers the human body, physics, biology, chemistry, and nature. We liked this book because most of the experiments called for everyday items you’d use in your home. We got more into science experiments towards the end of the year, and this book had tons of fun ones to do that were pre-k and kindergarten friendly. The book also provides key terms as well as gives explanations of what’s happening during the experiment, which is great for lesson planning.

146411915598611.    I Can Read books.

These books include a ton of series from Amelia Bedelia to Frog and Toad, which are my childhood favorites. The great thing about “I Can Read” books is that they have different levels from emerging readers to advanced readers. We started off at Level 1, but there’s a level before that called “Shared Reading.” Shared reading is great because it divides the books with sentences for parents to read and sentences for emerging readers. I don’t think kids should be pushed to read early, but my kindergartner showed all the signs of reading readiness. His favorite “I Can Read” series are from Charlie the Ranch Dog.

12.    The library.nola_brantley_memorial_library

I know I mention this resource all the time, but the library is certainly underrated. Not only do they hold classes and activities for homeschoolers, they also have a ton of resources, discount codes for education materials, and so much more. We checked out a ton of books every week for the entire school year. Books on astronomy, geography, the human body, and, of course, books to read just for fun. The library also has STEM activities for budding engineers and a great selection of audiobooks for kids. Be careful to look at the copyright date on the books to ensure the resource isn’t outdated.

the_macon_museum_of_arts__sciences_172177613.    The Museum.

Our local museum is completely free. Other museums like the Children’s or Science museums usually have free admission days. Take advantage of your local museum! They typically hold great classes for homeschool families. Our local museum holds regular STEM Classes. If you’re unfamiliar with STEM, it’s an acronym for all things Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics—sometimes Art (STEAM). Museums are great for a learning day outside the home. Pack a lunch and have a fun picnic in the designated picnic areas!


I’m sure I forgot some amazing resources we used. If I did, you’ll surely hear about it in the future. These resources, however, are ones that we used often and made excellent supplements to my curriculum lesson plans. If you are on a tight budget this year, I urge you to try out some of these resources. For a list of free curricula, click here.

Lastly, I just want to say, don’t be afraid of not using the same pricey curriculum as everyone else. It’s not what you have, but how you use what you have. There are kids using those materials who are struggling, read the forums! And I want to note that even though we didn’t use a top-notch curriculum, my kindergartner still tested above grade-level for both reading and math. It’s not necessary to keep score in homeschool, but I needed to test him to prepare for next year’s curriculum.

Will you be creating your own curriculum next school year? Let us know down below!

Gummy Bear Experiment

Gummy Bear Science Experiment

This week we had fun with a little gummy bear science. This experiment is great for introducing little ones to physical science. Even better? It reintroduces parents to the sweet yummy snacks we used to love as kids. I’ve seen this experiment floating around Pinterest using water only, but we added vinegar and salt water to the experiment to see if different solutions produced different results. Here’s what we did.

What you’ll need:

QUESTION: What physical changes will occur when a  gummy bear is placed in water? Salt water? Vinegar?


Experiment

Step One: 

Before beginning the experiment, have each student document their observations of the gummy bears on the experiment worksheet.

Step Two: Label each cup—water, salt water, and vinegar.

Step Three: Pour each liquid into assigned cups.

WATER

 

SALT WATER

VINEGAR

Step Four: Place a gummy bear into each cup.

Step Five: Wait a few hours (preferably 24) and document new changes.


Here’s what should happen:

1.    The gummy bear sitting in water should get considerably larger. This is because the ingredients, water, gelatin, and sugar give the candy a sponge – like nature that soaks up the water. The gelatin prevents the gummy bear from disintegrating.

2.    The gummy bear sitting in salt water should stay relatively true to size. This is because salt is a natural preservative.

3.    The gummy bear sitting in vinegar should also get considerably larger. But unlike the gummy bear in water,  this gummy bear broke apart as soon as we touched it. This reaction is due to the acidity of the vinegar, which breaks down the gelatin.

~Inspired by Creative Lesson Cafe~

Have you tried this experiment? What other experiments should we try? Let us know down below!

Aircrafts

Homeschool Fieldtrip for Aircraft Lovers

This week we visited the Museum of Aviation in Warner Robins, Georgia. It is the second-largest aerospace museum of the United States Air Force. The Museum of Aviation is a great place for kids to learn about historical events like the Vietnam War, the Korean War, and WWII, among many others. There’s also great information regarding different types of military aircrafts, notable veterans, and African American servicemen. All-in-all, our family really enjoyed this fieldtrip. Especially my boys who are really into military vehicles and airplanes.

The museum’s campus includes outdoor aircraft exhibits, monuments, a playground, a picnic area, a café, some classrooms, and five buildings that house a variety of exhibits.  We did not get to see everything, but what we did see was very impressive. Our favorites were the Aviation Cadet Training exhibit, the Down to Earth exhibit, and the Scott Exhibit Hangar WWII, which had amazing aircrafts. All exhibits were very informative and eye-catching. Some exhibits were even interactive, which the kids loved.

Lastly, I must talk about the staff. We did not schedule a tour because we decided to view the exhibits at our own leisure. Those working behind the info desk were very helpful and even recommended their favorite exhibits. They definitely made the large campus less intimidating. So a huge thank you to the volunteer staff because their recommendations were on point. Below, I’ve shared some pictures that I took with my iPhone. Of course, they don’t do these exhibits any justice, but at least I have something to look back on. 
 

Get more info at www.museumofaviation.org

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do you have any recommendations? What fieldtrips have you taken that your kids loved?